Angus Pratt's Home  >  Creative  >  Writing  >  Laundry
I've been doing my laundry now for a few weeks. I can stride in and confidently ask for $10 in quarters... divvy up the clothes into something that makes sense and get things going. I've even learned to sequence the starts and plan to do things over in that part of town so I don't have to stay in the laundramat.

But still sometimes things do get the better of me. As I moved through the sequence of dryers pulling out the dry clothes and consolidating the still damp things in one machine, I came to the last one.

In went my hand and to my am
n went my hand and to my amazementnot only was every thing still wet but it was cold. I ment straight to the attendant, knowing that there are quirks to using the machines.

"Which machine was it?" she asked.

I glanced back and figured it out. "Eight" I said.

"Oh that lady had trouble with that one too." as she handed me my money back. "Here try another one."

Inwardly I fumed about out of order signs. I went and moved every thing into the next dryer and started it rumbling. I finished up everything else and sat reading my Digest.

Finally the dryer finished and I went and began sorting my clothes. With a start I realized that these were wet and cold too. I glanced up and realized that in my fretting about signs I had not checked the settings. It was set for permenant press which socks and boxer shorts are not.

With a sigh I plunked in another couple of quarters and picked up my Digest again finishing my laundry almost an hour later than I had intended.


She watched as he came in. Obviously a new bachelor. He had been coming for several weeks. A bit unusual in that he didn't just stuff everythng back in when he was finished but carefully folded it all.

He had come back three times for change the first time, seemingly dazed by how much it took to get through all the machines. This time he came in grinned and said "I think ten bucks should do it.

The attendant watched how much more confidently he separated clothes, slopped in the detergent
and got the machines going with slams of the wrist sending the quarters tumbling home. He now disappeared, returning just as the first load finished spin dry. He transferred clothes to the cart, over to the dryer and then more quarters carefully holding the start button down till it was tumbling the clothes. On to the next load he went, repeating the process twice more.

What a pleasure to watch an efficient man at work, she thought. He came towards her. She fussed with some laundry, watching him from the corner of her eye. He picked up a bag of salted peanuts, a coke and made his way to the counter.

"That'll be $2.13," she said.

"Toonie dime and here's three pennies," and he turned back to the window checking on the dryer. He sat and looked at the Reader's Digest. She watched him for a few moments and then turned back to the stack of ironing.

"What is the trick with the dryer?" he spoke startling her.

"Why? What's wrong?" She was puzzled.

"It didn't heat," He sounded upset:

"Which one was it?

" Ah Number 8"
She laughed and reached for the change. "Here's your money back. Try another one. The last lady to use that one had trouble too."

Half an hour later something made her look up. Surprised she watched him savagely twist the heat setting dial. She realized after all that he had left the machine on cool. He would be another few minutes. She smiled and watched him settle again.